Posted in Wicca, Everyday Life, witchcraft

Invigorated Witch!

Guys, I hate it when I don’t blog for days & days. Probably like many others, there are times when I don’t really have anything profound to say (do I ever, really?), and I don’t want to waste your time. Other times I really do have something to say, but I’m just too lazy, or I write until I run out of steam, and it is added to the growing list of drafts.

I’m probably more invigorated about Paganism than I have been in a long, long time. I need to start writing more about that. I find myself inching further and further out of the closet, and posting about Paganism on my mundane Twitter and Facebook accounts. I don’t know if I will ever be ready to be as honest with everyone I know, as I am with you on this blog. A degree of anonymity is empowering.

So hopefully, you will be reading more from me. But today I wanted to touch base with you, and thank you for reading my stuff. I so very much enjoy the interactions we have, and am honored you take the time to read and comment.

Enjoy this sunset photo I took the other day with the cloud shelf!

Blessed Be to you all!

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Posted in Everyday Life, Goth, Hippie, witchcraft

A More Bohemian Witch Home

Yesterday, we explored the shops and sights of the historic St. Charles Missouri area. Despite being in the 90’s, it was a lovely day. On Main Street, there are dozens of shops featuring art, antiques, collectibles, clothing, and home decor, along with everything else you can imagine. We had lots of shops we really enjoyed, but 3 of our favorites were The Olde Town Spice Shoppe, The Enchanted Attic, and Joys Collective Market.

We stocked up on spices at Olde Town. The Enchanted Attic is a small metaphysical shop. We bought our share of incense, quartz, and sage bundles there.

What struck us about Joys Collective Market, and many other shops along the street is the bohemian flavor of the offerings. We could have spent lots of money at Joys, but kept it to a low roar. It appears that hippie clothing, especially peasant tops are popular right now. Glass art, which we just love, is really popular too. Especially witch balls, friendship balls, and hanging glass art.

What struck me was how much I loved the bohemian look it all created. This goes against the less is more, minimalistic approach we have been taking the past few years. There is still a bohemian/Moroccan/Gothic flair to our home, but not as heavy handed as it had been in the past. Yesterday, I started yearning for more of that look.

We talked about that fact yesterday. In the past, there were times that every surface of our home was covered in decor of some sort. Eventually, it became overwhelming, even stifling, and we decluttered, even before there was a Marie Kondo book.

But we feel like we went too far. We feel the need to go down to the basement, open up all the boxes storing treasures that we didn’t give away or donate, and bring back the bohemian vibe, stronger than it currently stands at our house. We understand the need to walk the fine line between clutter and style. Yet we want to enjoy more of the items that are important to us. It fits our style, our tastes.

I realized that it is true that having nearly empty counter, table, and other surface spaces creates “clean lines,” it doesn’t necessarily fit our style taste. So a happy medium is what I think we are looking to achieve.

More this:

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Less this:

minimalist-home-decoration

And maybe a bit of this:

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As I was finding the photos above (all courtesy of Google), I found lots of articles indicating minimalism is waning, and maximalism is on the rise. Maybe I’m not bucking the trend as much as I thought….

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on home decor!

Blessed Be!

Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Hippie, Living Simply, Wicca

Hippie Wicca! Part II

75c8e6cc4b8e1108bfe2e86ab29a8b03Somebody left a comment on a past post the other day. The post was Hippie Wicca! from April. The comment led me to reread the post, which was basically the final post in a series of posts about losing my way spiritually, and what I went through to rediscover it.

I was thinking about that post this morning, early this morning about 2AM, which is just about the hour I usually wake up because of some nocturnal anxiety, and contemplate my lot in life. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I grabbed my iPad and read through Flipboard, which is my go-to news aggregator. As I read article after article about the sorry state of politics in the U.S., that post kept coming back into my mind.

It eventually dawned on me that I hadn’t taken Hippie Wicca far enough in my life. It’s true that I’ve settled into a hippie Wiccan mindset. I’ve been better at performing rituals, spells, and prayers. I’ve inched my way into some meditations, and I’ve resolved to learn tarot. I’ve become an earth husband at home, using homemade & green cleaning supplies. I make all my own body care products, I ditched liquid soap for bar soap, I have used only water to wash my face for the past year, and am in the horrid phase of water only hair washing.

I’m a happier person overall, but I’m still having anxiety & depression issues. That’s where I hope that more hippie will help. Politics has weighed heavily on me since Obama became President, with all the abuse he received. Now with Trump, that weight has grown dramatically on my mind. I read all the political articles, and I become incensed, and then I’m on to the next article. It’s a vicious cycle.

One of my grown children once imparted some advice to me. She doesn’t read much news, and it has helped lower her anxiety by leaps and bounds. It’s not that she isn’t aware of what’s happening in the world, she simply doesn’t seek it out, nor dwell on it.

So I started thinking about that this morning. She has a point. I’ve found myself reading articles and furiously writing comments, or ranting about them on Twitter or Facebook. I’m pretty sure more than 1/2 of my Facebook friends have stopped following me. And where has this gotten me? Waking up in 2AM panics, that’s where.

I made the decision that I’m going to unfollow most of my political accounts on Facebook & Twitter. I’m going to stay away from people who mostly rant about it constantly. My obsession with this, my hundreds of posts have done nothing but affect me negatively. You don’t change anyone’s mind, you simply shout out into the ether.

This will free up lots of time for me to increase my time meditating, learning tarot, reading all those books I’ve been meaning to get to, and just spending more time being a witch. It will also give me more time for family, and friends.

I’ve changed the world in small ways. I’ve driven less, used less, recycled, reused, and repurposed. I have enlightened others about this, and have some happy converts. Those hippie-like changes I’ve made, and continue to make, do 1000 times more good than all the ranting on social media and to anyone who will listen.

More hippie, more Wicca!

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

Posted in Everyday Life, Living Simply, Wicca

A Witch Finds Joy At Home

7a3322e96568e2934133adf7be8be21bI always enjoy the tales of people, especially fellow Pagans who find enlightenment and peace through travels to destinations that inspire them. I read a lot about people “finding themselves” on such journeys. While I have traveled a bit, I’m not a journeyman. I rather like routine, and traveling is the opposite of that.

However, the double edged sword for me has been that while I love being home, I have often felt a bit trapped at home, feeling that I’m missing out on something because I’m not there. For a good number of years, that “there” was a party, a tavern, or a social event that I attended with my own St. Elmo’s Fire type group of friends.

But that group of friends has disbanded. Some of us stay in touch, but when we see each other, it’s awkward. In the past we bonded over good times and booze. Now we have little in common, so the conversations are forced, often falling back to “remember when we….” There are friends from those days, who I saw nearly everyday back then, whom I haven’t seen in years. So were they true friends? Obviously not. Just people who felt an artificial close bond due to circumstances.

But old habits die hard for some, and I’m one of that “some.” While most of those people from the past were able to move on, I tried my best to hold on to the past, to the party all the time lifestyle. The problem was that most of the time I was by myself, trying to infiltrate the good times of other groups who happened to be at the places I would go. It was unsatisfying, to say the least.

Over the course of the last 13 years, after deciding to embrace Wicca and Paganism, I found a bit of diversion from my desire to keep the “good times” rolling. I looked deeper into life than the depths of a glass or beer bottle. The frequency of “going out” has dwindled. Some of the friends we did hang on to distanced themselves when they discovered I was interested in Wicca or Paganism.

So home became both a comfort and curse. We have a lovely home of many years, and it contains everything to make us happy. Yet, there were times where I felt trapped, those feelings that I was missing something once again bubbling up. So out we would go, trying to capture the fun of the old days, only to realize the next day that it was a futile pursuit.

These days, home represents many things. A comfortable shelter, an entertainment center, a magickal place, a temple of sorts, and a shield from the memories of days gone by that occasionally beckon. It’s a fairly goth place, decor wise. It’s also becoming more of a hippie place, with decluttering and banishment of chemicals for cleaning and body care. Sandalwood and patchouli hangs lightly in the air. Ok, patchouli sometimes hangs a bit more heavily in the air….¬†Our home, even after 20+ years is always a work in progress. Not construction wise, but because of the attempts to make it into something that staves off the call of yesteryear.

It’s taken me 50 years to become relatively comfortable in my own skin. It took embracements of Wicca, witchcraft, goth and hippie lifestyles, and time, but the transition is largely complete.

My wish for you, dear readers, is that you find that self love far sooner than I. I know there are many younger people that read this, and I’m here to tell you that it’s important to find friends that will last a lifetime, not only situational friends. Learn to really cherish your home. Fill it with items you love. Try not to spend money on decor that will bring you joy for years to come. Trust me, that $50 spice rack you just have to have for your kitchen, will eventually be seen by you as counter clutter, and will end up at Goodwill or a future garage sale. Recycled bottles work much better!

I had always heard the adage that happiness starts at home. It took me an incredibly long time, and bumpy journey to realize that is the absolute truth.

Thanks for reading, and Blessed Be!

 

Posted in Cottage Witchcraft, Everyday Life, magick, witchcraft

Witchcraft Authenticity

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In browsing the internet this morning, I came across this article about navigating your way through spiritual enlightenment. I’m usually wary of articles about how to be spiritual, but this one had an authenticity to it I found quite refreshing. In reading it, I first thought I was stuck between the healing and life purpose phases that the author describes, which deflated me quite a bit. I mean, I’ve been on this path since 2004! Certainly, I’ve made it farther than that.

As I read on, I saw the paragraph on grounding, and I realized that was the step that has alluded me. The author writes that this step helps to control your emotions, which is something that certainly would be useful to me.

I kept going back to the life purpose step. At first, I thought that meant I should have discovered some fantastic purpose to my life, something that is life-shockingly amazing. Upon further thought, it occurred to me that rather than find some new life purpose, witchcraft has given me a way to strengthen the life I was leading.

I’m a stay-at-home husband. In the past, that’s been difficult to convey, because it flipped societal norms. Yet, it frees my spouse to concentrate on a job that is stressful, but lucrative. So, I had to reshape my ego to fit into a plan that was right for us.

What has escaped my logic until now, was that witchcraft strengthened my ability to take care of our family. In the past, I was looking at witchcraft as some kind of personal enlightenment, affecting only me. The reality is that most of what I have learned as a witch has practical use on a day to day basis.

I learned about clearing the space of our home, whether it be from residual anger from some disagreement, from lingering illness energy, or just setting a mood of serenity. I learned all about essential oils. At first, I used them just for ritual, but quickly found their usefulness in both household and personal care situations. I was able to rid our home of nasty chemicals, in favor of herb and oil creations. It led to a safer home, and to less money spent on cleaning, health, and beauty supplies.

I could go on about the multitude of connections between keeping a healthy and happy home and the Craft. But let me cut to the chase, and tie this in a bow that supports the title of this post.

At times, I’ve struggled with the validity of witchcraft and magick. I’ve seen magick work mostly on small problems, but I haven’t deluded myself that magick can supernaturally bring you everything you desire. It won’t miraculously cure severe illness, or fix a broken bone. It won’t bring you boatloads of cash, or never-ending happiness or joy.

What witchcraft will do is give you a direction, a pathway to leading a better life. If you choose it to, it will show you some kind of divinity, often it being whatever kind you are able to wrap your mind around. Be that thinking the the deities exist, or that they are simply a part of you. With magick, you can direct your emotions, your mind, your actions to solving issues. Secondly, it is absolutely useful for day to day applications, such as the ones I previously mentions.

I’ve come to accept that I need a belief in the gods and goddesses. It helps me make it through life. Do they actually exist? For me they do. You have to make up your own mind. Witchcraft has shown me that while the deities are there, they do not guide your life, like Judea/Christian belief. That is where magick, and directing your intent come in. Witchcraft is you taking charge of your life, and using various techniques in which to aid you through the business of daily living.

In days gone by, witches were the healers of communities. They learned the properties of herbs, oils, stones, and other natural elements. Their magick was the ability to use that knowledge to aid themselves and others. Sometimes we expect too much of the Craft, thinking it will do more than the universe allows. But if you bring it down to a personal level, you can realize that it is a path, sometimes a spiritual path, that helps you live a better life. If that’s all it is, isn’t that enough?

Posted in Everyday Life

Reclaiming Myself

I’ve tried to write many posts over the past few weeks. I get a running start, but then either run out of steam, or simply¬†realize they are basically rehashes of older posts. I get tired of writing about myself, and my successes, my failures, or personal troubles.

I’ve been a practicing Wiccan for 13 years. To be honest, I don’t really practice all that much anymore. I get up in the morning, thinking I’m going to do a ritual or spell, and then find a million reasons not to do it. Call it burn out, but I’m not sure that’s what it is.

I’m tired of living two lives. I have my mundane life, and the life I’ve exposed to you on this blog and other social media. The two do not always match. If I left, or leave Wicca, I’m actually afraid I won’t miss it. I think leaving Paganism itself would be very difficult.

I think like a Pagan. I have a Pagan outlook on life and death. I am open to the possibilities of the universe, and would never malign magick or witchcraft. It seems that so many people who walk away from witchcraft end up not believing in it.

Back to living two lives. I think I would like to abandon all my alternate accounts, and just have one email, Twitter, Google+ (honestly, it’s better than you think), and photo accounts. Right now I have no less than 4 Gmail accounts, a couple of Yahoo accounts, and even a Outlook account. As I soar well past 50 years of age, I find that I’m becoming more casual, and more minimalistic. Plus there are a ton of overlapping emails every day.

I’ve largely come out as a Pagan. I feel that I’m growing more toward Humanistic Paganism, which might be a better fit with my theoretical Paganism, rather than my past ritualistic Paganism. It would be mentally freeing for me to be able to talk about that openly, rather than veil myself behind an internet persona.

I might have a blog, I’m not sure. All of you who blog know the mental preparation of writing a post, formulating what you will say, then making it look nice on the screen. Then after posting it, you need to take the time to tend to comments, and reply to them. It’s a time sucking proposition, often fulfilling, but perhaps not to the extent it needs to be, given the time devoted to it.

I’ve spent the bulk of many summers sitting in the house, on the computer, communicating with other Pagans, writing posts, Tweeting, doing rituals & magickal workings, or reading Pagan/witchcraft websites, blogs, and other writings. This year is going to be different. I want to be more active, be more social, be more athletic.

I don’t regret all my time with my online Pagan activities. I’ve had fun communicating with others. Sometimes this communication has helped me mentally. In the end though, it just feels a bit hollow. My “real life” social life has suffered greatly, my relationship with friends and family were put on the back burner. They could not really even engage with me that much online, as I was spending most of my time there under an assumed identity.

So now, I’m gonna take a break from it all for a bit. I’m going to whittle down my online accounts, and become, well, me.

Thank you all so much for your support of this blog. It’s the longest I ever stuck with one.

Peace and best wishes.

 

Posted in Depression, Everyday Life, Paganism, Uncategorized, witchcraft

Wellness & Witchcraft Life

mind-body-spiritThis is a companion piece to my last post, with a plan of action to bring more joy and happiness into my life. Hope it helps others too!

Depression and anxiety are unfortunate companions to a lot of us. The causes are many, and often the causes can’t be pinpointed at all. Nonetheless, anyone who suffers from these, and other similar mental health issues knows the pain and exhaustion that results from the struggles.

Frankly, I’ve surprised myself as to how open I’ve been about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety. There is no doubt that they have changed the course of my life, generally not in a good way. I can’t help thinking that if the internet had existed when I first experienced life altering anxiety, I might have found the strength to overcome it, or at least control it better than I did. When we write about it and chat about it online, it gives us a certain degree of empowerment to battle the disease.

Becoming a Wiccan helped me with my depression by giving me that aforementioned empowerment in my life. While it taught me that I could have a degree of control over my life through ritual and magick, it also gave me the God and Goddess. Through high school, I followed my parents’ Judea/Christian religion. It was fine, but in the end, I never could really connect with that God. But becoming a Wiccan in my early 40’s gave me deities that seemed alive. They offered guidance with love, joy, sorrow, life, death, enjoyment of the home and hearth. I was guided through them to learn about herbs, essential oils, gardening, and loving myself. These deities didn’t require me to obey them, nor did judge those who didn’t believe in them. They were simply there, and offered hope.

Unfortunately, I’ve managed to find a downside of being a witch in regard to depression and anxiety. Those who practice Wicca or witchcraft know that these paths take up a good deal of our time. Most mainstream religious folk tend to go to church once a week at the most, and that’s about it. We witches have altars to attend and rituals to prepare and perform. We perform magick through spells, which requires finding or writing the spell, obtaining or gathering all the needed elements of the spell, then taking the time to do the actual spell work.

Because we don’t have a house of worship, witches tend to spend a lot of time reading the writings of other witches, and communicating through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many other social media outlets. Because we don’t have a central religious text, we also spend a lot of time educating ourselves by reading books, websites, and blog posts.

All of this takes time away from other aspects of life. Activities such as socializing, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and even just being outside suffer. Additionally, there is the work of keeping your witchcraft path under wraps, if you feel that is necessary or imperative. That, in itself, is hard work.

The result is that we insulate ourselves to a degree, and that can ignite depression and other mental difficulties. I’ve come to realize that the scales have tipped too far toward spending time on witchcraft activities, compared to taking care of my mundane needs. I’ve spent a lot of summers over the past 13 years behind my desktop, or doing rituals and spells, rather than being outside. And we all know the psychological benefits of getting outside in nature, exercising, and freeing up our minds.

So I’ve decided to work at balancing that scale. My first step has been running and cycling. We have had some ridiculously warm February weather, and I’ve been able to get out and cycle and run quite a bit. This, in itself, has improved my mental health.

My wife and I are starting to look for activities that take us out and about. Spring and summer offer lots of outdoor opportunities, all of which we’ve basically ignored. There are activities that can be part of a magickal experience, such as visiting botanical gardens, exploring cemeteries, and spending time in wooded areas. I hope to devote more time to gardening, which has been often left in my wife’s hands. I’m sure she would appreciate the help.

I guess I’m just realizing that living a magickal life doesn’t have to mean sitting behind a screen, in front of an altar, or doing spells or meditating in a darkened room. Of course this has always been the case, as many witches would be quick to tell me, but sometimes I just need to be hit over the head with a ton of bricks…

Life is all about balance. My balance has been off for some time, and I hope taking this advice to myself will help restore that balance.

Thank you for reading! I’m sure many of you have thoughts on this, and have been able to find your balance. I’d love to hear from you!

Blessed Be!